FA Carling Premiership
Newcastle United 2 - 2 Leeds United
(Half-time: 1 - 2)
|« Galatasaray||Sheffield Wednesday »|
|Leeds United||Martyn, Mills, Duberry, Radebe, Harte (Bowyer 78), Haaland, McPhail, Bakke, Wilcox, Kewell, Bridges (Huckerby 81)||Robinson, Hopkin, Huckerby, Smith|
|Newcastle United||Given, Barton, Howey, Dabizas, Hughes, Gavilan (Antunes 85), Lee, Helder (Marcelino 64), Domi, Dyer (Maric 81), Shearer||Harper, McClen|
|Leeds United||Bridges 12, Wilcox 16||Harte missed pen 60|
|Newcastle United||Shearer 23, 47|
|Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|Leeds United||Haaland 22, Harte 40, Kewell 68, Bakke 92|
|Newcastle United||Shearer 74|
|Leeds United||Newcastle United|
|Shirt numbers of goalscorers||?||?|
|The Guardian||Shearer takes candy from 'babies'|
|The Electronic Telegraph||Leeds exposed by Shearer's double|
|The Times||Runaway Leeds held in check by Shearer|
|Express Sport||Sparkling Shearer|
|The Independent||Shearer punishes profligacy of Leeds|
|Yorkshire Evening Post||It's Shear hell again for O'Leary's boys|
|BBC||Shearer sparks Toon revival|
|Soccernet||Leeds dreams dashed by that man again|
|Carlingnet||Newcastle United 2 - 2 Leeds United|
As so often this season, up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday. Newcastle's paltry allocation meant instead of a coach we travelled up in the coach drivers car. Clear roads meant we were in Chester-le-Street by midday, to find the other group of East Anglia whites broken down by the side of the road. So a slight detour to the garage for a tow rope before we could head to the pub.
Into the ground in plenty of time, to find only a line of police between the 2 sets of fans, I inadvertently turned the wrong way on the way in and was surrounded by black and white shirts and beat a hasty retreat. Looking round the ground to find that the Toon were very cheeky in cutting our allocation. There was building work going on but it wasn't affecting the capacity of the ground which was exactly the same as last year, and all they'd done was swop us to the side that no longer had a roof and cut our allocation in half. To add insult to injury for those unable to get a ticket there even appeared to be some unsold restricted view seats.
Team was as posted to the list last night. Duberry in for Woody and Alfie playing right-midfield for a rested Bowyer. A good start, a couple of dangerous corners from Wilcox led to half chances, before good work down the left created space for Bridges in the middle and his shot from outside the box went in the top right corner via Givens hands. We'd only just finished celebrating that when a free-kick was won on the right and Wilcox curled it in, everyone missed it and 2-0. At this point Newcastle were definitely there for the taking but a defensive mistake let them back in the game, a ball that should have been cleared was won with a good tackle by Domi near the touchline and his cross was headed in by an unmarked Shearer. We were under a fair bit of pressure for the rest of the half and Shearer was a nuisance, though his mate Elleray was letting him do much as he liked. We were still ahead at half-time but the initiative had shifted somewhat.
The equaliser duly arrived near the start of the 2nd half, Martyn came for and didn't hold a cross (he may have been pushed) and Shearer bundled in the loose ball. From then on we started to play again and although it was often end to end stuff and Martyn had to make a save one on one from Gavalan, we looked the more in control. Halfway through the second half Kewell was put through, looked to have wasted the chance when he cut back inside but fell over a stray leg for a penalty that Harte dragged wide. A rarity next, an attacking substitution from DOL, Bowyer for Harte with Alfie dropping to full-back. Huckerby also came on for Bridges and we had 2 good chances at the end. First McPhail got clear of the defence but didn't have the speed or confidence to go for goal and lost possession with a bizarre sideways pass, then in injury time Huckerby was also through, managed to stay on his feet but Given dived at his feet as Huck failed to keep the ball under control.
So a good game, a rare draw, but 2 up and a missed penalty - a game we should have won. Looks like the UEFA Cup again then.
Martyn - 7 Not sure if the 2nd goal was his fault, couple of good saves.
Mills - 7 Decent game, deserves a run in the team.
Harte 6 - Booked, missed penalty. Got the rest of the season off.
Lucas 7.5 - Mostly in control.
Duberry 7 - Battled hard with Shearer without inspiring total confidence.
Wilcox 7.5 - Corners better, keeps the balance.
Bakke 8.5 - MoM Another impressive game, seemed to swallow up most of the possession in midfield.
McPhail 6.5 - Nice touches, but never really controlled the game
Alfie 7 - Worked hard, had one rush of blood in 2nd half when he looked determined to get sent off.
Bridges 7 - Nice goal. Solid
Kewell 8 - Worked hard and his pace a threat. Booked for diving.
Newcastle - Pretty average, Shearer was his usual whingeing fouling self and got booked for dissent, but we'd be in Champs league by now if he played for us.
As Leeds United's season moves ever closer to the point of no return the suspicion grows that they will ultimately be undone not by emotional but by physical fatigue.
David O'Leary refers to them as his "babies" and, rather like infants who have spent too long learning at the knee of their elders, they are now tired, open to distraction and a little bit grumpy.
For O'Leary the aim has always been to gain a place in next season's Champions League but the dream is now fast fading.
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